This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Breathtaking Lake House Completely Open To Its Natural Surrounds

Architecture

Australians don’t have much tradition in lake house architecture. When we think of spots to retreat beside a body of water, most of us think of the ocean. But this monolithic residence in Pacific Palms (260km north of Sydney) makes a great case for the lake house!

Matthew Woodward Architecture were engaged to create a sturdy but experimental residence atop this windswept 25-acre property overlooking Wallis Lake on the north coast of New South Wales. The result is a robust dwelling, crafted from rough and raw textures that will weather with time, and blends seamlessly into the rugged surrounds.

11th June, 2020

The humble front door shows no indication of the vast construction beyond! Photo – Brett Boardman.

Concrete was chosen for its thermal insulation properties as well as its aesthetic Photo – Brett Boardman.

Timber and concrete are a natural material marriage in this rough-hewn residence. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Golden hour on the upstairs floor. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The spectacular – but spare – upstairs master suite. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The master bathroom with expansive views out over Lake Wallis. Photo – Brett Boardman.

From where you’d rather be! Photo – Brett Boardman.

The view from the living area across to the sleeping quarters. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The entire north-facing vantage opens up to the natural world. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The two concrete prisms are connected by a timber walkway, which leads to the bushland at the back of the property. Photo – Brett Boardman.

A stunning narrow lap pool surrounded by native grasses. Photo – Brett Boardman.

A birds-eye view is always better than a floor plan! The southern end of the property is raised on the natural incline of the block, while the main living quarters sit on the flattened, excavated slice of land at the fore. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Sasha Gattermayr
Thursday 11th June 2020

‘It’s about accepting imperfections that tell a story of the construction process.’ – Matthew Woodward

Matthew Woodward (of Matthew Woodward Architecture) describes his use of materials in this awe-inspiring Lake Wallis residence as ‘experimental’.

‘It’s about accepting imperfections, as they tell a story of the construction process,’ he explains. ‘Accepting blemishes, tarnishing, oxidisation and general weathering allows materials to age in their natural state, and provides a level of richness and integrity that differs from other houses.’

Situated on a 25-acre property (of which 20 acres are covered in native bushland), the house is inspired by the raw and exposed landscape it sits upon. Previous owners had excavated a level pad on the sloping block, buttressed by a concrete wall. The southern end of the residence is raised on the natural incline of the block, while the main living quarters sit on the flattened slice of land at the fore. The previously cut level exposed a cross section of the cliff’s shale rock face, which served as the starting point for the simple material palette.

The residence comprises of two rectangular concrete prisms in equal proportion, connected by a timber gangplank. Rough-sawn recycled Australian blackbutt was selected for its longevity, and has been milled from old telegraph poles and bridge piers. This hardwood exterior cladding greys over time and blends with the off-form concrete edifices that wrap the structure inside and out. While raw, exposed materials signal an aesthetic appeal to the environment, they were also chosen for their sustainability credentials. Off-form concrete stores thermal energy and embodies heat retention when exposed to solar heating, and blackbutt timber is local and recycled.

The north-facing house opens itself to the elements, utilising sliding glass doors on the lower levels and hydraulic levered timber screens on the upper floor to unfold the residence out onto the property. With bushland at the rear of the property and rolling, unimpeded views down to Lake Wallis, maximum connectivity to the natural surrounds was a key design tenet.

The landscaping is subtle but essential to a house so invested in its ability to rest easily in its environment. A narrow, free standing lap pool is lined with drooping native grass, while the exposed green roof garden can only be viewed from the raised lawn at the back of the residence overlooking the lake.

But it’s the upper level master suite which is truly astounding. Operable timber screens control sun exposure to the master bedroom but also open the entire structure up to a panoramic vantage over Lake Wallis. We could get used to the views from that bath!

See more projects from Matthew Woodward Architecture here.

This Week

Architecture

A Bold, Playful New Addition For An Edwardian Home

Studio Bright restore a heritage home in Northcote, and add a contemporary and characterful new extension.

News

Artist Vincent Namatjira Receives An Order of Australia

Celebrated South Australian artist Vincent Namatjira receives an OAM in the Queens Birthday 2020 honours list.

Giveaway

WIN A Fenton & Fenton Interior Design Consultation + $5000 To Spend!

Enter here for your chance to WIN a Fenton & Fenton design service experience, along with $5000 to elevate your home for winter!

Architecture

An Elegant Modern Home That Balances Indoor and Out

Travis Walton Architecture delicately balances innovation with tradition (and a healthy dose of green technology!) in this Caulfield North h...
Sasha Gattermayr

On The Market

This Octagonal Home Maximises Every Angle – And It Could Be Yours

This cabin-like home in Sydney’s North Shore was designed by a pioneering member of the Sydney School. And now, it’s on the market!
Sasha Gattermayr

Food

Julia's Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls With Cabbage Salad + Pickled Carrots

A bright and healthy rice bowl with plenty of colour and crunch for a satisfying lunch or dinner.
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Homes

A Perfectly Pint-Sized, Art Deco Sydney Pad!

Interior architect Sophie Bowers and fashion stylist Josh Climpson share their renovated one-bedroom apartment in Sydney's Kensington.

News

Calling All Creatives – Be Part Of MPavilion's Newly Expanded Program!

While there won’t be a new architecture commission for the 2020 MPavilion, the organisers are calling out for artists and creatives to...

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Luxury Beach House Atop The Sand Dunes In Blairgowrie

There is poetry in the way this contemporary coastal sanctuary by Planned Living Architects speaks to its blustery surrounds with rare views...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Traditional Queenslander Reimagined As An Adaptable Home & Workspace

A clever renovation by Nielsen Jenkins, for an artistic couple seeking a more adaptable home and workspace, in Brisbane.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An Out Of The Ordinary Beach House in Phillip Island

Inside Casa X by Branch Studio Architects – a courtyard home in Phillip Island, inspired by the native landscape.

This Week

Stays

This Origami-Style Beach Shack Is The Perfect Coastal Getaway

This architecturally designed coastal retreat on Stradbroke Island looks out over the glittering Coral Sea. The most dreamy vacation destina...
Sasha Gattermayr
  Less than an hour ago

News

Patricia Piccinini And Alpha60 Join Forces On A New Collaboration

The celebrated Australian artist and local fashion legends launch a new series of textiles titled ‘Hugs’, which are now installe...
Sponsored

On The Market

This Elegant Victorian With An Eclectic Architect-Designed Extension Is For Sale

Period features meet unique, contemporary design in this Ascot Vale, Melbourne home.

Creative People

A Travel-Inspired Ceramics Collection That Will Take You On Holiday!

Queensland-based ceramics brand Marloe Marloe launches a new collection of vessels inspired by the seaside!
Sasha Gattermayr
  24 hours ago

Family

An Honest Conversation On Single Parenting By Choice + Donor Conception With Takeawei Ceramics Founder, Chela Edmunds

Chela Edmunds of Takeawei ceramics shares her story of becoming a mother to 18-month-old Ocean via sperm donor and IVF.

Architecture

A Casually Confident Beachside Home

A falling down period home in South Fremantle has been brought back to life with a new extension by David Barr Architects.
Amelia Barnes
  8 hours ago

News

'Giant' by Evi O Opens At Saint Cloche

Artist Evi O showcases her largest paintings to date in new exhibition Giant, on now at Saint Cloche.

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s Glamorous Victorian Pad Hits The Market!

Chelsea Hing’s apartment in an 1890s Italianate mansion in St Kilda East is up for sale. This is *the one*!

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Artist Creating Ceramics Inspired By Ancient Mesoamerican Culture

From dub music to the Chinese Song Dynasty, the influences of Enrique Tochez Anderson stretch far, wide and into the past.

Architecture

A New Melbourne Home That Follows The Sun

This Eaglemont home has been cleverly designed 'to almost disappear', by Architects Eat.

Creative People

Behind The Scenes Of 'Rone In Geelong’ – Opening This Weekend!

See a retrospective of artist Rone's work to date at Geelong Gallery from Saturday February 27 to Sunday May 16, 2021.

Shopping

Lockdown-Inspired Woven Outdoor Picnic Mats, From One Of Our Fave Local Stylists!

Stylist Nat Turnbull launches Laze, a new brand of outdoor mats for lounging and picnicking, with designs by Alice Oehr.

Tiny Homes

The Architect-Designed, Prefabricated Tiny House Of The Future

FABPREFAB have teamed up with TRIAS to create Minima – a series of prefabricated, small dwellings suitable as home offices, living spaces,...

Homes

A Biophilic Family Home Among The Trees

The newly-renovated Warrandyte family home of Millie and Dave Wells perfectly blends indoors and out!

News

A Group Show Combining Ceramics + Still-Life Under One Roof!

Ceramicist Grace Brown joins artistic forces with figurative artist Margaret Voterakis for a new exhibition at Modern Times, ‘Utopian Purs...
Sasha Aarons

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Luxury Beach House Atop The Sand Dunes In Blairgowrie

There is poetry in the way this contemporary coastal sanctuary by Planned Living Architects speaks to its blustery surrounds with rare views...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Traditional Queenslander Reimagined As An Adaptable Home & Workspace

An adaptable home and workspace in Brisbane, by Nielsen Jenkins.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An Out Of The Ordinary Beach House in Phillip Island

Inside Casa X by Branch Studio Architects – a courtyard home in Phillip Island, inspired by the native landscape.

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.